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Important lessons that only come about through practice and reflection also come clear. 2nd year student teacher Flinders University 2005
Reflective practice is seen by many teacher educators to be at the very heart of effective teacher preparation programs and the development of professional competence. Loughran (2002) writes, ‘It is through the development of knowledge and understanding of the practice setting and the ability to recognize and respond to such knowledge that the reflective practitioner becomes truly responsive to the needs, issues, and concerns that are so important in shaping practice’(p.9). According to philosopher and educator John Dewey (1933), we begin to reflect on a complex situation when we face that situation and ask ourselves what needs to be done. Dewey’s ideas and the idea of professional reflective practice were developed in the 1980s with the emergence of Schon’s (1983) concept of ‘reflection-in-action’. According to Schon (1983), reflection-in-action is a rigorous professional process involving acknowledgement of and reflection on uncertainty and complexity in one’s practice leading to ‘a legitimate form of professional knowing’ (p.69). Since the 1980s, the development of reflective skills has been widely adopted in a range of higher education and best practice professional settings including education, health sciences and leadership. Whilst most educators in higher education would agree that it is important for learners to develop these skills, there has not always been agreement on the definition of reflection or exactly what constitutes reflective practices in a higher education context.
Contemporary teacher education programs
Whitton, Sinclair, Barker, Nanlohy and Nosworthy are contemporary Australian researchers and educators who work with pre-service teachers and who draw on Dewey’s writings for their definition of reflection by emphasising the importance of an attitude of inquiry and ‘openmindedness, responsibility and whole heartedness’ (as cited in Whitton et al 2004 p.220). According to Whitton et al (2004), reflection is a threefold process comprising direct experience, analysis of our beliefs, values or knowledge about that experience, and consideration of the options which should lead to action as a result of the analysis. Graham and Phelps (2003) also work in teacher education and they invite educators to consider the discourse of reflection in relation to meta-cognition. Meta-cognition is an important skill for tertiary learners, as it cultivates the necessary self regulation to ‘activate and sustain cognitions, behaviours and affects, which are systematically oriented to attainment of their goals’ (p.15). For student teachers in particular, having the skills of meta-cognition means that they can selfmonitor and self-evaluate when engaging with new and complex knowledge, when struggling with values and beliefs clashes (Rigney, Rigney, & Tur 2003), and during the theory/practice integration process generated by the teaching practicum.
March). mentor teachers or skilled peers who demonstrate the skills of critical questioning.au/content/ulalka_tur__training_teachers_for_reconciliation. D. Whitton. According to Walkington. (1983) The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. & Tur. continuous commitment and requires skilled support to develop. 11-24. U. Promoting reflective practice in initial teacher training. J. reflective practice can be facilitated and indeed modelled by lecturers. Ideally it leads to new action or an informed affirmation of one’s existing actions.. beliefs. According to Jarvis (1992) as cited in Graham and Phelps (2003). J.pdf Schon. Victoria: Thomson Learning. Becoming a teacher: encouraging development of teacher identity through reflective practice. J. & Phelps. Loughran. S. International Journal of Educational Management.C. Walkington. 9 (5). 20-26.. D. it is the process of turning thoughtful practice into a potential learning situation’ (p19). (1933) How we think. J. J.22). in schools and universities’ (p. (2004). Southbank. References Dewey. Being a teacher: Developing teacher identity and enhancing practice through metacognitive and reflective learning processes. A. Graham. viewed 16 January. Nanlohy. (1995). 2 . 53 (1). 53-64.preservice and in-service. L-I. & Dallart. Sinclair. (2002 January –February). P. (2003).acsainc. Professional reflective practice is a ‘complex and intellectually challenging activity’ (Moran and Dallart 1995 p. It also takes time. Barker.com. & Nosworthy. D. M. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education.. K. 33 (1). 2005 from http://www. Conference Paper No. Australian Curriculum Studies Association Conference. and who challenge the assumptions of the beginning teacher. (2003. R. experiences and practices is a core activity for all teachers . C. Rigney. Effective reflective practice: in search of meaning in learning about teaching. Boston: D. (online Gale Group/Expanded Academic ASAP Plus) Moran. Despite the differences in defining and implementing the process of reflection. January).Professional reflective practice Walkington (2005) also works with Australian student teachers and writes that ‘reflection on one’s own perceptions. comparing and contrasting theory and practice. Journal of Teacher Education. (2005. ‘reflective practice is more than just thoughtful practice... 2006.. Training teachers for reconciliation: A work in progress. 27(2). New York: Basic Books.59). Learning for teaching: Teaching for learning. Retrieved November 29. A. Heath and Company.089.. Adelaide. Australian Journal of Teacher Education. South Australia. it is clear from the literature that challenging and affirming our learner and teacher identities through reflective practice is crucial for our journey of professional self-discovery. Rigney.